Category: Issues

Patients Deserve the Right to Shop

By Kelly McCutchen and Josh Archambault Georgia families face some of the biggest increases in health care premiums in the country this year. For many families, health care is rapidly becoming unaffordable – a necessity that is becoming a luxury. Candidates running for Governor and the Legislature would be wise to take note of other states’ successes in granting patients the right to shop for health care to lower health care costs. Data show that the primary reason premiums are going up is the escalating costs of treatments and procedures. Consumers’ deductibles and copays are going up, too. In other words, patients are paying more but getting less. At a time when the internet is making more and more information… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release February 13, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Foundation Hosts February 20 Event on Georgia Teacher Pension Reform Atlanta – In 2017, Georgia’s budget included $223 million for the Teacher Retirement System to improve its financial security. This year, Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget includes another $361.7 million to prop up the pension fund for Georgia teachers.  Why is this happening? How much longer will Georgia taxpayers have to pump money into the TRS?  More important, what assurances do Georgia teachers entering the profession have that their benefits will be there when they retire? Find out more at “Pension Solvency and Public Education: The Case for Reforming Georgia Teacher Pensions,”… View Article
By Jerry Madden Jerry Madden Criminal justice reform may wind up being the most significant conservative policy change in Washington this year. That may sound surprising to some, but not to anyone who has been watching this movement in conservative states over the last decade. Starting in Texas, conservatives of all stripes – fiscal, social, constitutional, or otherwise – have found favor with reforms to the criminal justice system that focus on increasing public safety and cutting costs to taxpayers. This is, seemingly, a very commonsense goal. But take a look at how most states and the federal government operate and you will find that well-functioning, well-focused systems are far from the norm. The results are undeniable: Texas has lowered… View Article

Restoring the Dignity of Work

By Drew Ferguson  Drew Ferguson The American dream is our nation’s most enduring promise. But, too many people are struggling to turn the American dream into a reality. After my hometown and the surrounding area lost its manufacturing jobs, I watched family, friends and neighbors live through this scenario. Many came back from that, but others in the Third District of Georgia still live a different story. For the first time in generations, more people in the area moved into poverty than into the middle class. As this persists in some areas, failing schools, broken neighborhoods and loss of hope take hold. The dignity of work is replaced by the indignity of dependence. The once tightly woven fabric of the… View Article
The Atlanta Journal Constitution published an op-ed on school choice by Georgia Public Policy Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd on Sunday, February 4, 2018.  The op-ed, “Schools need more choice, not more money,” can be accessed online at this link and is reprinted in its entirety below. Schools need more choice, not more money By Benita M. Dodd  Legislators and policymakers continually debate how and how much funding to allocate to help Georgia’s public school students and public education in general. But there is a little-discussed, bigger challenge: How to meet the choices Georgians demand. How big is that challenge? The Georgia Charter Schools Association finds more than 15,000 students are on waiting lists to attend a public… View Article

College Fees: Sticker Shock for Georgia Families

By Lee Brewer Jones Lee Brewer Jones With revenue and spending contingent on the new tax law, the uncertain future of PeachCare funding (Georgia’s CHIP), and the possibility Georgia may spend on tax incentives aimed at luring Amazon’s new headquarters, it’s no surprise Governor Nathan Deal’s FY 2019 budget of $26 billion has been described as “very fluid.” In education, state budget “austerity cuts” during the Great Recession a decade ago resulted in an Institutional Fee, “a general-purchase fee charged system wide by the University System Board of Regents at all ‘teaching’ institutions.” The University of Georgia notes that the purpose of the fee, implemented in 2009, was “to ensure continued academic excellence during times of reduction in state… View Article
By Ben Scafidi Georgia could have a system of universal educational choice beginning in the fall of 2020, enabling families to choose the schools and non-school education services they deem best for their children and enabling educators to offer their best versions of school and other educational services to the public. The system is outlined in my new study, “Georgia 2020: Educational Choice for All K-12 Students,” unveiled on January 23 to coincide with National School Choice Week. I base the recommendations on logic, experience and the systemic evidence from Arizona, the state with the most educational choice in the nation. Georgia 2020 would provide students annually with $5,000 universal education savings accounts (ESAs) increase to $150 million… View Article
News Release | For Immediate Release January 23, 2018 Contact: Benita Dodd  benitadodd@georgiapolicy.org (404-256-4050) Landmark Study on Georgia’s K-12 Options Unveiled at School Choice Week Event Showing off their trademark National School Choice Week scarves at the Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s event are Scott Johnson, State Board of Education member; Foundation Vice President Benita Dodd; Mark Peevy, Executive Director of Secondary Education Initiatives at the Technical College System of Georgia; and keynote speaker Dr. Ben Scafidi, education expert and professor of economics at Kennesaw State University. Atlanta – Georgia can and should implement universal educational choice for K-12 students beginning in the fall of 2020, national education expert Dr. Ben Scafidi told attendees today at a Georgia Public Policy Foundation… View Article
Metro magazine takes a comprehensive look at the game-changing ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, including Lyft and Uber, that are meeting the needs of commuters and reducing operating costs for public transportation. The article by Michaela Kwoka-Coleman, “Mobility-On-Demand: The Future of Transportation,” was posted on December 26, 2017, and can be accessed online here. It examines examples around the nation of how transit agencies are partnering with on-demand services, for first-mile/last-mile transportation, paratransit and carpools.  Public transportation ridership rates have been decreasing for years, and unless transit agencies adapt their service to embrace this innovation, they will lose even more riders. The University of California, Davis Institute of Transportation Studies reported in October that urban ride-hailing passengers decreased… View Article

Lawmakers Have Some Unfinished Business on the Table

By Benita M. Dodd Part two of Georgia’s two-year legislative session is under way. Weather delays notwithstanding, campaign fundraising for this year’s elections is on legislators’ minds so expect a quick 40 days. The governor announced January 10 that he would call a special session if Georgia became a finalist in online behemoth Amazon’s search for its next headquarters. On January 18, Atlanta became one of 20 candidates (out of 238 applicants) that made the first cut. Before legislators rush off, however, there is some important unfinished business on the table since 2017.  Education legislation held over, especially, needs attention. Last year, legislators approved providing grants of $100,000 to fund facilities for public charter schools, which often struggle to pay… View Article

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Dan Amos, CEO, AFLAC more quotes